Oh Well

John Woo, the director of Windtalkers, the new Nic Cage flick, is known for favoring stylistic violence over substance. His first American movie, Hard Target, is also the only watchable Van Damme movie. He also made the silly-but-fun Broken Arrow, the even sillier Face/Off, and the way sillier Mission Impossible: II. His Hong Kong career was even better.

American or Hong Kong style, you don’t go to John Woo movies because they make sense. You go because the violence is pretty and you keep thinking that this time, just maybe he’ll show some boobs.

But it seems he’s taken so many liberties with Windtalkers as to make it unwatchable, or so I gather from this item on StrategyPage.

Among the misconceptions the movie portrays are; a marine shooting at three moving Japanese soldiers 20 meters away with a pistol. Three shots, three Japanese drop. Pistols are not that accurate, and thinking they are can get a soldier killed. In another scene, three aircraft come in, drop three bombs on Japanese artillery positions and score three direct hits. That might work today with GPS bombs, but a lot of dumb bombs are still used and you’re not going to see that kind of accuracy with dumb bombs. Most of the explosions were unrealistic. Hollywood prefers lots of flames when grenades or artillery shells go off. You only get the flames if you hit a fuel dump with shells. Grenades are pretty low key in the explosion department. And the myth that marines were told to kill Navaho “codetalkers”, if the Japanese seemed about to capture one of the Navaho marines alive, is given new life in the movie.

That’s a shame, too. Given a good script and the proper director (Ridley Scott comes to mind) it could have been a damn fine film.